East Hawaii News

Highway Safety Staff Recognized for Traffic Safety Efforts

March 22, 2016, 3:21 PM HST
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traffic safety PIXABAYThe National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently acknowledged the Hawai’i Department of Transportation’s Highway Safety Staff for its efforts to make roadways in the state safe.

NHTSA Region 9 Administrator Christopher Murphy wrote a letter commending Highways Safety Coordinator Lee Nagano and her staff.

Murphy also highlighted achievements in the HDOT’s Highway Safety Annual Report, including reduced numbers of traffic fatalities and alcohol-impaired driving fatalities.

Hawai’i is the only state in the country to declare a “Pedestrian Safety Month” to bring awareness to communities through pedestrian and driver education and media campaigns.

In 2014, traffic fatalities in the state reduced from 102 in 2013 to 95. In addition, during the same period, alcohol impaired driving fatalities decreased by two from 34 in 2013 to 32 in 2014.

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HDOT attributed the decrease to education and media outreach, and NHTSA notes the improvements as “especially encouraging, considering the increase in both the population and the amount of vehicles on Hawai’i roadways.”

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The report also shows Hawai’i as one of the highest states in the nation for overall seat belt use. In 2015, the rate of seat belt use was listed as 93 percent.

“I’d like to echo Administrator Murphy’s commendation of the hard work and passion the Highway Safety Staff put into making Hawai’i’s roads safer for pedestrians and drivers,” said Ford Fuchigami, HDOT Director. “It takes a concerted effort to coordinate and execute the department’s education and media campaigns.

“We would like to thank our many partners, including the four County Police Departments, Prosecutors Offices and Transportation Services Departments, the Hawai’i State Legislature, Department of Health, traffic advocacy groups, and private agencies. We also thank the public for driving cautiously and wearing seat belts. Please remember to always designate a sober driver. Together, we can move toward the goal of reducing the traffic fatalities to zero.”

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